About Me

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I'm spending all of 2012 learning and experiencing new things. This blog is my way of documenting it all, while keeping my family and friends back in the states in the loop. Here's to 2012. Check out my website- Kat Carney Photography

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blues, beach, boyfriend

I went to a Yemen Blues concert in a Plaza in Murcia the other day. It was incredible. The band is a mixture of people from Israel, the USA, Finland, and Morocco. Their music can be described as "mesmerizing and earthy sounds of West African stringed guimbri, and rocking Middle Eastern rhythms, all coursing together in a raucous party of a stage show. With Kalahani’s soulful vocals alternating between the grit of the Mississippi Delta to the falsetto of Prince-style funk."

It was incredible and my friends and I had a great time. What an insane cultural experience. In a Spanish square with everyone around me speaking Spanish, listening to this eclectic and really freaking good band sing in Arabic. Just before the concert we went to an African dance and music show held at a museum. One of the dancers spun for over 10 minutes while throwing about colorful skirts and fabric. He looked like a human top. Me cuesta mucho describir esto porque es algo que necesitas para ver, y lo que digo no se compara.

I have been going to a different beach almost every weekend. I love the waters of the Mediterranean. They are a color that is unlike anything I had ever seen before. Everyone needs to see it and experience some sort of Mediterranean culture at least once in their lives. Could I live in this culture forever? Absolutely not- they are far too impractical for me. My dad would go insane here...haha! But I love it all the same, and I can appreciate and enjoy it. Every single week (if not every single day) I think to myself what an amazing experience this is, and has been, and will be.

Those of you who know me well know I have an awesome boyfriend. A lot of you probably know him too. Craig is really good at throwing a spear, and is currently throwing his way to London 2012. Read about his season here. Read his updates here. And go donate to his sponsor, USA Athletic Trust, here. He is an incredible athlete and person and I hope you will all cheer him on as he continues his journey towards the Olympic Games in London this summer.

Mediterranean Sea

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I miss Kansas because sometimes, during the Spring, you are in the mood for a good old fashioned, crazy, terrifying lightning storm- most likely with tornadoes involved. Ya know what I mean? Of course you do.

Nothing but boring, old sunshine in Spain. Who am I kidding, I'm not going to complain about sunshine! If that is the most I can complain about, I'd say life is pretty good. Here are some of my Spanish experiences I haven't written about yet...

Semana Santa was like a month ago now, but the amount of photos I have from it is intimidating. So intimidating, in fact, that I have only edited one photo from this entire week. I will get around to it eventually. The week consisted of massive processions with men carrying giant religious sculptures and handing out candy. A very interesting sight indeed. But they are literally every day of the week, and honestly if you see one, you see them all. They are all the same, but the men wear different colors everyday, and some days have different themes. Like one day was complete silence. Another is at night, in the dark. All around a cool experience.

Las Fiestas de Primavera were the week following Semana Santa and this week is full of more parties and parades. It's a little like Carnival in Aguilas, with scantily clad woman dancing, drunk people everywhere, and people throwing toys all over the place. Definitely a cool cultural experience. My mind was blown some of the time.

I spent the weekend in La Carrasca en Sierra de las Cabras. It's a mountain town home to exactly 19 people. Far from absolutely everything. The first day I was there I went on a long bike ride through the countryside. I saw one car the whole time. I rode into "town" as well and talked to a couple kids in the street. They were astounded to meet an American with a weird accent. The second day, I was violently ill and I almost threw up on some sheep crossing the road as I took photos of them. The third day I hiked a mountain. Good times.

Volleyball is over now, but there is a beach league this summer. The team ended up third in Spain. I had an amazing time, but I have to say it wasn't the same as playing for my college team. I was more disconnected...and maybe it was the language barrier, maybe it was because I was only there half the season, and maybe it was because I had just met all of these girls and they have known one another for a long time. The president asked me to play for them next year, but I don't think I'm going to. If you would have told me five months ago that I would be turning down this opportunity I would have called you crazy. It's a combination of my knees sucking, me not really connecting, and a few other things. Part of me would love to stay another year, maybe get that connection finally, learn how to speak Spanish perfectly, and generally be entrenched in Spanish life. But I think at this point in my life I would rather start chasing another dream. Maybe it's time to hang up my volleyball shoes and start paying attention to the other things I want to do. I can't express enough how happy I am I did this. If only to know that I could do it. Volleyball has been the love of my life for so long, since I was probably 8 or 9 years old. It was there when boys weren't. It was there when I was angry, happy, sad, and a million other things. It's always been the thing I could do when I didn't want to think about anything. I could forget my problems for the two or three hours of practice a day and think of nothing but playing. That is a great feeling. That focus is incredible. It's not like I'll never play again. I just won't compete indoor at this high of a level. I never said anything about beach ;) I need a partner this winter in Florida.  Who's in?

I went to Bolnuevo beach last weekend with some American friends. I had an amazing time and every Spanish beach I have been to is incredible. The Mediterranean is such a unique and wonderful body of water. I have about a million photos from this weekend I need to edit as well. We went to Mula for a festival the next day and had a great time hanging out with all the locals. I'm pretty sure we were the only foreigners there.

There have been more times than I can count where I stop doing whatever I am doing and think, "Whoa, this is my life. EPIC!" I love those moments. It happens when I'm having a conversation with Spaniards in a tiny town in the middle of Spain called Mula. It happens when I walk through the streets of Murcia ever morning. It happens when I'm swimming through the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, and it happens when I'm riding a bike through a Spanish mountain range and come across sheep on the road. I'm thankful each and every time and I look forward to the rest of my life feeling like that.

Swimming in the Mediterranean 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I miss my mom. I miss my whole family, but you know how sometimes you just really miss your mom? Is 25 too old to feel that way? Ok, but my mom is literally the best mom ever. And she always knows what to say, even if I don't want to hear it. And damn it, she is always right. It's to the point now where if my mom tells me something I know I really need to do what's right and just follow her advice. No more questioning, no more mulling over the problem. Her word is law.

I'm so thankful my parents repeated these phrases when my four brothers and I were growing up- "life isn't fair" and "you can do anything you want to do if you want to do it bad enough" and "do your best and if that's not good enough piss on it."

They didn't shield us from the world, instead they pushed us into it and surrounded us with great people. Life still isn't fair and that is okay because life is awesome. I've found out what it means to want something so bad that I find a way to get it, and to not want something badly enough, so I lose it- both in my personal and professional life. In a few months I'll be starting a new journey towards an old goal. And along the way I've felt as though I've failed many, many, countless times. Failing sucks. It hurts. And it hurts even more when you admit that it was something you really wanted. But that's okay. It means I'm still doing things that fuel my fire. And I'd rather fail 1,000 times than not try at all. But at 1,001 times...well shit, then I'll just piss on it (that's for you Grandpa :)

For a while I felt like I was failing everyday trying to learn and speak Spanish. Now speaking is coming more and more easily, and I understand most conversations. It's kind of true what I'd heard. One day you wake up and the language just doesn't sound and feel all that foreign anymore. It's a good feeling. Now I see people on the streets I know. I stop and have conversations with them. All in Spanish. Learning a language in a foreign country gives a new meaning to the saying "Learn something new everyday." I really feel like I am.

My parents are awesome. My dad is as just awesome as my mom. He is this very practical, straight-to-the-point kind of guy who likes basketball, beer, and barbeque. He is also wildly intelligent. I feel like I could ask him anything random and he would know the answer. He's like a walking encyclopedia. But one of my favorite things about my dad is that he has this ability to make people feel like they matter. And not in the normal way people typically do this. He doesn't hand out compliments. That's not really his thing. In fact, a lot of times he doesn't really say all that much. He has always said that a person's favorite topic of conversation is himself. So my dad listens. He has a presence. The same as my grandpa had. When he talks people listen, and when people talk, he listens. It's such a simple thing, but I think it makes people feel like they matter. The thing I love the most about him is not just that, but it's that it is the same regardless of who he is talking to. It could be a drunk in a bar or a rich businessman. Everyone is equal in his eyes. No one is above or below him. I love that about him. I think my older brother Zach has some of these same traits, but with the social personality of my mom mixed in.

I feel very blessed to not only love my parents, but to like and admire them as well. This is a really long post about my family, but I miss them so I thought I'd write about them. I have a lot to say about my recent adventures in Spain, but that will have to wait until next time.

Spring smells like flowers in Spain, and this reminded me of my mom's roses in the backyard at home.